Wellington Firebirds batsman Devon Conway has been included in his first New Zealand squad, selected for the season opening T20I series against the World Champion West Indies. Conway and Kyle Jamieson are the two new faces in the T20I side which will be captained by Tim Southee, with Kane Williamson and Trent Boult to focus on the Test series.
Southee, Jamieson and Ross Taylor are only available for the first two T20Is, at Eden Park on Friday November 27 and Bay Oval on the Sunday, before heading to Hamilton to join an unchanged 13-man Test squad on Monday November 30. With the third and final T20I at Bay Oval also on the Monday, Mark Chapman, Doug Bracewell and Scott Kuggeleijn will join the T20I squad as cover for the three Test players.
Blackcaps coach Gary Stead said it was truly exciting to be unveiling his first squads of the season. “I think we’re all very aware and appreciative of how much work has gone in to make this home summer possible - in what is clearly unprecedented times,” he said.
“The season schedule is complex and for the first time we’re going to have a Blackcaps Test squad assembling on the same day we’re playing a T20 International in another city.
“We’ve got players at quite different stages with some having played almost a month of domestic cricket, some in managed isolation following the IPL and others battling injuries.
“Firstly, we have a challenging T20 series against an opposition full of stars with plenty of big game experience. The three-game series is over just four days so we’ll need to hit the ground running to build some momentum for the summer.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming Devon into our environment for the first time and I’m sure he’ll soak up the experience. “We’ve had to make a decision on Kane and Trent to prioritise the Test matches, given how important they are to our red-ball team and the fact they both played such big roles in the recent IPL while also managing injuries.
“There’s no secret we’re right in the hunt for the World Test Championship Final following our two-nil win over India and having Trent and Kane fully fit and focussed for the upcoming series will be crucial.”
Auckland Aces batsman Glenn Phillips has earned a T20I recall after impressing at the recent Caribbean Premier League, while Hamish Bennett has retained his spot after strong showings against India earlier this year. Fresh from the IPL - Lockie Ferguson, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner and Tim Seifert are set to finish their managed isolation on Thursday November 26 and link up with the T20I squad that evening ahead of the opening match on the Friday night in Auckland.
New Zealand T20I squad: Tim Southee (c), Hamish Bennett, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Seifert (wk), Ross Taylor
*Doug Bracewell, Scott Kuggeleijn and Mark Chapman included for game three in place of Jamieson, Southee and Taylor.
Stead will take a ‘wait and see’ approach with the fitness of Test incumbents Colin de Grandhomme (right-foot) and Ajaz Patel (left-calf), but said he’d give them every chance of being available for the first Test starting in Hamilton on December 3. “Colin and Ajaz have quite different injuries which are requiring different return to play protocols. It’s too early at this stage to definitively say what their chances are but we’re hopeful the next two weeks will make that clearer.”
Stead also clarified the decision to omit Colin Munro from the T20I squad. “With Colin heading to the Big Bash and therefore unavailable for the Pakistan T20I series pre-Christmas, the selectors are keen to look at other batting options at the top of the order.”
New Zealand Test squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk), Will Young
The New Zealand T20I squad, minus the IPL players, assemble in Auckland on Tuesday November 24.